If you’re happy and you know it (HLD 322)

8 Feb 2021

The other day as I was playing songs in the car to keep my oldest grandson amused, we all happily sang along to “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands”. Unfortunately the driver of the car was one of the people quite happy to clap his hands, until the death glare convinced him that maybe keeping at least one hand on the steering wheel would allow him to lead a slightly longer life.

It’s a very familiar song to most of us, and it struck me as I was administering the death glare, that it’s one of those songs that gives you a life lesson.

I’m not suggesting that we should all be clapping our hands and stamping our feet just to let people know we are happy, but maybe we should pass on the good feelings that come with being happy.

In a similar way to our media outlets continually bombarding us with the bad news stories and only throw in a good news story once in a while, we also are faced regularly with people promulgating their social media feeds with stories about things that go wrong in their lives. And about things that other people are doing wrong.

I started thinking about other kids songs that are teaching us life lessons. Six little ducks going out one day and not coming back until their long suffering mother has to go out and fetch them all back, doesn’t really teach children a good lesson, in my opinion. The little blighters should have all come back together.

Six in a bed only teaches them to be the person in the middle when sharing beds. And let’s face it – how often do six kids share a bed nowadays?

There’s a hole in my bucket is a little bit better, reinforcing the reduce reuse and recycle principles. But it does also tend to acknowledge the idea that the females are continually having to tell males what to do.

Itsy bitsy (or incy wincy depending on where you grew up) spider can teach a variety of lessons. It could be a pest control lesson, in that you can’t just wash or brush away a deadly spider – they will come back when conditions improve. Or it could be a lesson on perseverance – wait until conditions improve and try again 🙂 Either way, watch out for spiders at the bottom of downpipes.

Old mother Hubbard I suspect was written by a mother sick of children standing in the kitchen demanding to be fed. If the cupboard’s bare, it’s bare. Get over it.

Heads, shoulders, knees and toes is obviously a human biology lesson, and rock a bye baby teaches you to not suspend very small children from trees. Obviously.

Have you got any other life lessons from kids songs for me?

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